The Steps Required to Produce Visually Perfect, Premium Quality, Great-Tasting Wild Shrimp Author: Michael G. Haby, Russell J. Miget and E. Anthony Reisinger
Today, imported, farmed shrimp account for at least 67% of all shrimp the United States consumes. Because of their dominance in the U.S. market, domestic, wild-caught shrimp are now judged against the appearance and condition standards set by these farmed imports. Wild shrimp have a unique attribute that can distinguish them from a “sea” of imported, farmed shrimp: “built-in” flavor. Meeting the appearance and condition requirements to successfully compete with farmed imports also preserves the flavor found in wild shrimp. To maximize the volume of visually perfect, premium-quality shrimp from every tow, each step aboard the trawler–from tow times to back-deck processing to brine freezing–needs to be correctly done. Four operational changes, eight objectives, and four diagrammed procedures necessary to offload visually perfect, premium-quality wild shrimp are presented in this publication. All suggested changes are minor, but following them will ensure wild-caught shrimp are on par with farmed imports from high-grade foreign processors. Above all, understand that offloading wild shrimp with “right out of the water” appearance is dominated by human skill, not technology. Of course, technology is important, but correctly using those tools requires human skill and ability. Shrimp fishermen spend too much time at sea to get “docked at the dock” for preventable quality defects.